First introduced as a faction at the end of 7th edition during the Gathering Storm campaign event, the Ynnari represent the united Craftworlds, Drukhari, and Harlequin forces who have pledged their services to Ynnead, the newly born Eldar god of the dead. Ynnari armies got an update in 8th edition, first with rules in the Index that were, to put it mildly, insanely broken, then given an update later in White Dwarf that made them fairly bad.
One of the big surprises with Codex: Aeldari is that Ynnari have been folded into the book entirely, given their own rules to work with. Gone are the days of hoping for a tiny supplement or worse, a White Dwarf article. Instead all the rules you need are here with the rest of your units. And in Codex: Drukhari, we guess. Note that because of the faction’s inclusion in Codex: Aeldari, this isn’t a standalone review – we’d recommend you read our review of Codex: Aeldari before reading this one.
As with our other reviews of Codex: Aeldari, we’d like to thank Games Workshop for providing us with a review copy of the book.
Why Play Ynnari?
The followers of Ynnead run the spectrum of Aeldari lifestyles, and when you play them your army can include Craftworld Eldar, Harlequins, and Drukhari (though not Haemonculus Covens or Corsairs units). This gives you an incredible amount of flexibility, plus you get access to the three unique Ynnari characters – Yvraine, the Visarch, and the Yncarne. For the Eldar player who truly likes every type of elf faction and doesn’t want to choose, there’s the Ynnari. On top of the ability to mix the elf factions, they get some interesting bonuses that make them more powerful in melee combat and let them get boosts of the death of nearby units.
What’s in this Section?
In Codex: Aeldari the Ynnari are less like a separate faction with pages of relics and stratagems and more like a craftworld with some very unusual subfaction traits. There’s only a single relic, warlord trait, and Stratagem specific to Ynnari, and there are a number of rules that clarify how mixing harlequins, drukhari, and craftworld units work, plus some increased costs for Incubi and Scourges.
About half of the rules space for Ynnari is dedicated to describing how to build a Ynnari army. There’s a lot going on here.
A Craftworlds Detachment can become a Ynnari detachment. If it does, it can include Harlequins units, <KABAL> Drukhari, <WYCH CULT> Drukhari, Incubi, and Scourges. For each of those non-Asuryani units, you have to include one Asuryani unit, however. Once they’re in your army, they lose the <SAEDATH>, <KABAL>, and <WYCH CULT> keywords and instead gain the Ynnari faction keyword, which is a replacement for the <CRAFTWORLD> keyword, so they all become <CRAFTWORLD> units and get the appropriate craftworld Attribute, Strength from Death.
On top of that, Ynnari Psykers can’t know any powers from the Runes of Fate discipline, but get the Revenant Discipline instead of a discipline they have access to, so a Ynnari Farseer will know powers from the Revenant and Runes of Fortune disciplines. Also your Harlequins transports lose their <Saedath> restrictions, and your transports can only hold models of their type, e.g. Asuryani Ynnari transports can only hold Asuryani models, Drukhari Ynnari transports only Ynnari, and so on. The exceptions here are Yvraine and the Visarch, who can jump in any transport.
Finally, if you’re adding Incubi or Scourges to your army, they cost extra. Ynnari Incubi cost +4 points per model, while Scourges cost +2 points per model. That increases their power ratings as well.
Attribute: Strength From Death
As members of the Ynnari <Craftworld>, all of your units gain the Strength from Death Craftworld Attribute. This makes all of your units fight first in the Fight phase, and each time your Ynnari units make an attack, if they’re below Starting Strength, they get +1 to hit.
These are some solid bonuses. Fighting first is a fine bonus to have – though not particularly essential – since it helps shrug off fight last abilities and helps ensure your army will have one hell of a counterpunch. It’s also deliciously flavorful when it comes to the whole “Is Ynnari really Slaanesh?” question the lore asks. That said, again, while this ability is at its best when it’s army-wide, it’s still more a nice-to-have than something you build around. Most of the time you’re going to prefer being the aggressor as your means of hitting first.
The other bonus, getting +1 to hit if you’re below Starting Strength, can be incredibly powerful, especially on large units of Wyches or Guardians, where you’re likely to weather some shooting. Though even there it’s a bit of a gamble – Non-Haemonculi Eldar units aren’t known for their durability, and it’s often the case that once someone targets one of your units, they kill it off. Without a reliable way to kill one of your own models in each unit, this can feel like a wasted ability. It’s cool, but you may struggle to find units that can really use it outside of say, Wraithblades. That said, this works at range as well as in melee, so in the current environment where you’ll often have a few models chipped away by indirect fire, it can give you some juice.
In exchange for the ability to soup in Drukhari and Harlequins units, there are a few things you miss out on. The first is that you can’t take any Phoenix Lords, Anrathe (Corsairs), Avatars of Khaine, Solitaires, or named characters that don’t have the Ynnari keyword in a Ynnari detachment. On top of that, your Harlequins can’t be given Pivotal roles, and your Drukhari units can’t be given any Lords of Commorragh or Favoured Retinue upgrades, so no Kabalite Trueborn.
Finally, there are some major implications to taking Harlequins or Drukhari units in your Ynnari Detachment that don’t seem intentional but are very real. While your mixed detachment counts as an Asuryani Detachment, which gives them the Leaders of the Warhost ability and gives the Troops units Objective Secured, not every unit in the army will have the ASURYANI keyword, despite being drawn from the same Craftworld. This means that a Ynnari army that uses Harlequins or Drukhari units in its Ynnari Detachments does not get access to Strands of Fate.
Note that a Ynnari Craftworlds army could still include a Harlequins detachment separately using the new rules as a way to add Harlequins without losing these bonuses, so long as they don’t add any Drukhari. And you’re probably going to want to put in Phoenix Lords as part of an auxiliary detachment, since using them to get ObSec aspect warriors is pretty important. But the flip side of this is that your Craftworlds army can’t include a Ynnari detachment, even an auxiliary one with just the Yncarne, without losing your craftworld traits and all your cool stuff – the wording on the Craftworlds section requires your whole army to have the same <CRAFTWORLD> keyword.
This is pretty dumb, and feels like an oversight on Games Workshop’s part. It’s a huge downside to the faction, since it means you’re giving up a lot in order to add some overpriced Incubi to your Craftworlds army, losing Power from Pain and Strands of Fate and Luck of the Laughing God.
Warlord Trait: Warden of Souls
Ynnari get a single Warlord Trait, and that’s this one, which heals your warlord for a single wound in each of your Command phases and gives them +1 to their Strength and Attacks whenever they’re within engagement range of an enemy unit that’s below Starting Strength. This is Yvraine’s Warlord Trait, and it’s OK there because of her ability to rack up mortals. In general, you ideally want to position the user so that they’re in touch with both something you can chip some models off and their real target, as you don’t have to attack the enemy that’s below starting strength.
Relic: The Lost Shroud
Each time an attack is allocated to the bearer, reduce the damage by 1 and add +1 to your save roll if it was damage 1. A nice little combo of Disgustingly Resilient and All is Dust in here, to cover all your bases with regard to incoming damage. It’s a neat little bonus and probably something you’d consider on a bike Autarch, where the improved durability can really help.
Stratagem: Inevitable Fate
Like the other major Craftworlds, Ynnari get one Stratagem. This one gives a unit that’s shooting or fighting +1 to wound if it targeted a unit that was below Half Strength. This is a much better bonus than the +1 to hit, since it’s a lot easier to control how many models are in an enemy unit than your own. And +1 to wound is pretty much always useful, since the times you’ll be wounding on 2+ are pretty rare, particularly in melee. The big downside is that your target has to be below Half Strength to use this Stratagem, so merely cutting a unit of 10 down to 5 won’t get you there. That makes this far more situational than we’d like, but in the right situations it’ll be money for finishing off an enemy unit – Custodes jetbikes spring to mind as something where letting one of your weaker units finish off the final model could be worth it.
The Revenant Discipline
The Revenant Discipline returns here, giving us six powers to choose from again. On the whole, these are pretty powerful, and offer what is potentially the most compelling reason to take Ynnari. With the exception of the two Witchfire powers (Gaze and Storm), they all key off Ynnari units, so there isn’t a ton you can do with them if you’re just bringing Yvraine along to cast.
Gaze of Ynnead hasn’t changed at all here but the other five powers have. Storm of Whispers received a big update, having you roll 3D6 now for each enemy unit within 9” and doing mortals for each 4+, a major step up from the anemic version we last saw. Word of the Phoenix has also been supercharged, with a shorter range but now just bringing back a full model (or D3 for Troops units) at full health. Unbind Souls now makes melee attacks auto-wound on 6s to hit, while Shield of Ynnead gives a single unit a 4+ invulnerable save. Finally, Ancestor’s Grace got harder to cast (WC 7) but now gives +1 to Wound rolls (in melee only).
These are some great powers, but giving up the Runes of Fate – and with it the Guide, Doom, and Will of Asuryan powers – is a pretty steep price to pay. One notable upside of them is that none of them are CORE locked, so you can dump them onto Characters as you see fit, and can also be applied to Drukhari or Harlequin Ynnari units you bring along. The one singular use case that brings up for actually doing a mix is probably a massive unit of Drukhari Scourges flying around with a 4+ invulnerable save and +1 to wound – it’s pretty tasty.
The Ynnari have three defining units, all released in the Triumverate of Ynnead as a packaged deal back when Gathering Storm II released. They haven’t been released separately yet, though hopefully that will change soon.
Yvraine is back, and she’s gained the Asuryani keyword. She’s also got a better cronesword this time around, sporting 2 damage and the ability to just do 2 mortal wounds whenever she rolls a 6 to hit with it (then the sequence ends). She’s a little tougher, with her runesuit affording her permanent transhuman physiology, and her familiar gives her re-rolls on Psychic tests. Her Herald of Ynnead ability hasn’t changed, so it’s still just kind of a nice bonus rather than something you’ll plan around.
She’s… OK. She knows two powers from the Revenant Discipline, which gives her a lot of power, and the ability to learn more mid-game isn’t bad considering how good those powers can be. Her lack of speed is helped a bit by being able to hop in any transport, though she doesn’t have any aura to support other Ynnari – that’s something you’ll lean on an Autarch or the Visarch for.
The least-loved of the Ynnari Triumverate, the Visarch has always struggled to be more than just a bad Autarch. Here he returns with an improved statline, getting an extra wound and a 2+ save, and his cronesword has been improved substantially, going to AP-4, 2 Damage, and on wound rolls of 4+ it turns off invulnerable saves. He’s still got a 4+ invulnerable save and a re-roll 1s to hit aura for friendly Ynnari CORE units, and he’s still got Champion of Ynnead to pick up extra Attacks and heal wounds when nearby models are killed. On top of that he now acts as a Bodyguard for Yvraine, and doesn’t take up a battlefield role slot if she’s in the army.
These are some pretty spicy stats but in most cases you’d rather have a regular Autarch than the Visarch, where the customization gives you more options and utility. Yeah, if you’ve got the points and want to run him, he’s not bad, but he doesn’t bring enough to the table to build around.
And finally there’s the Yncarne, the Avatar of Ynnead. He’s got a new (degrading) profile, having moved up to 12 wounds but improving to S7, T7 and 10” movement base -they’ll degrade to 8”, S5 and 4A as they lose wounds, so it’s not too bad a tradeoff, though no longer being able to hide the Yncarne with Look Out, Sir is a big blow. To help with that problem they get the aforementioned +1 Toughness, and now they halve incoming damage in addition to having a 4+ save.
That’s quite a bit better than a 6+ feel no pain roll, but it no longer applies to nearby units. Another downside is the Yncarne’s aura no longer lets friendly models auto-pass morale; instead they ignore attrition modifiers. And the Yncarne no longer heals wounds when nearby models are destroyed. On the plus side, they have a powerful new flamer style shooting attack that hits every enemy unit within range, and they know all the powers from the Revenant discipline, so if your opponent lets them get amidst their battle pile, blowing Storm of Whipsers then shooting can do huge damage.
The most controversial rule for the Yncarne was always its ability to be summoned onto the table through death, and that’s back here. Now you set the Yncarne up in waiting and when another unit is destroyed, you can set the Yncarne up within 1” of the killed unit. Or, if the Yncarne is on the table, you can zip to wherever a unit was just killed. It can’t set up within Engagement Range of enemies and it can’t charge or heroically intervene that turn. That’s not too big a hurdle given you’ll often be using the ability on your opponent’s turn and showing up in time to move and charge yourself. This is pretty solid, and probably the most enticing thing about the Yncarne and their new rules – and just in general they’re one of the draws that make you want to play Ynnari.
TheChirurgeon: Games Workshop has gone to some pretty great – and arguably unnecessary and convoluted – lengths to ensure that Ynnari can’t mix with other Eldar detachments and everyone gives up their Craftworld bonuses if you try. That’s unfortunate, because it means that ultimately the strength of the Ynnari army comes down almost completely to how good it is to mix Drukhari, Craftworld, and Harlequins units into a single detachment without any of the respective army-wide bonuses that those armies give.
Alternatively (and, appropriately, perversely), there are fewer restrictions for Drukhari, so if you take an army with a detachment of Drukhari, Ynnari, and Harlequins, you can do so without losing your Craftworld Attributes and bonuses. Though in doing this you give up Power from Pain and your Drukhari secondary objectives, and it’s not clear that losing Herd the Prey is worth it here. In fact, there’s not a single Drukhari unit I can imagine adding to the army that makes it worth the loss of Strands of Fate, while Harlequins can just be in a separate detachment. Many Drukhari units, like Wyches, depend on the Advance + Charge boost from Power from Pain and I don’t even think I’d take Incubi before the 4-point hike.
Alright, so what does a proper Ynnari list look like? I’m going to go ahead and assume that the Triumverate is part of this, and build something that tries to take advantage of Strength from Death. I’m not the world’s strongest Eldar player (people know me as the Chaos Guy around these parts), but the Ynnari have always seemed like a cool army to me.
+++ Ynnari Craftworlds Battalion Detachment (x CP, 1,860 points) +++
HQ: Autarch Skyrunner (100), Warlord: Fate’s Messenger, Relic: The Lost Shroud
HQ: Yvraine (135), Powers: Ancestor’s Grace, Word of the Phoenix
HQ: The Yncarne (250)
No Slot: The Visarch (95)
Troops: Guardian Defenders x10 (95), Starcannon
Troops: Rangers x5 (70), Wireweave net
Troops: Rangers x5 (70), Wireweave net
EL: Wraithblades x5 (190), axe + shield
EL: Howling Banshees x5 (95), Executioner
FA: Shining Spears x6 (230), Exarch Power: Lightning Attacks
FA: Vypers x3 (165), Bright lance
HS: Falcon (170), Bright Lance, Crystal Targeting Matrix
DT: Wave Serpent (140), Twin Bright Lance
+++ Asuryani Auxiliary Detachment (-2 CP, 140 points) +++
HQ: Jain Zar (140)
+++ 2,000 Points +++
Yvraine and the Visarch hang out with the Wraithblades in the Wave Serpent while the Yncarne chills in pocket space at the start of the game. Zar and the Banshees drop pod in with the Falcon and go for a turn 1 charge, if possible, then stick around to be a real problem. The Vypers and Shining Spears run with the Autarch, giving the army some mobile threats.
Wings: OK, so clearly we do need to include a mixed army here, and the one unit that really stood out to me as making you want to do that is Hellions. Let’s see what we can do with that.
Autarch Skyrunner, Warlord, Seer of the Shifting Vector, Sunstorm (extra) – 100, 1CP
Troupe Master, kiss, fusion pistol, Cegorach’s Rose, Fractal Storm (extra) – 90, 1CP
20 Guardian Defendeers – 180
12 Harlequin Troupers, Kiss, Embrace, Caress – 171
20 Hellions, Painbringer – 340
Vyper, bright lance – 55
3 Support Weapons, d-cannons – 195
Yvraine, Shield of Ynnead, Ancestor’s Grace – 135
Yncarne – 250
Rangers, wireweave net – 70
6 Dire Avengers, extra catapult – 72
6 Dire Avengers, extra catapult – 72
Vyper, bright lance – 55
Vyper, bright lance – 55
Wave Serpent, lances – 160
Hellions are wildly pushed on rate anyway, and are extremely here for the prospect of being given +1 to wound and a 4+ invulnerable save. That sets you up for wanting to really pressure the opponent, so to go alongside them I’ve included a full Harlequin Troupe. Because of the very tight integration of Harlequin and Asuryani rules, this list does still unlock the Harlequin stratagems, so you can throw these at your opponent sporting a 3+ invulnerable save thanks to Prismatic Blur. It also means that you can make an Asuryani character your warlord and put your free relic, here Cegorach’s Rose on a Harlequin and then buy Sunstorm with a CP. Elsewhere, you have D-Cannons for your big damage, Guardians to come in from the webway as another thing that really likes a 4+ invuln, and then Dire Avengers and Rangers to sort Actions. Finally, the Yncarne looms over everything, and with lots of expendable Vypers for them to jump between, you should be able to get decent value out of them. I honestly do quite like this list having written it, as it really pushes the Troupe and Hellions – as soon as either loses a model, they’re hitting on 2s re-rolling 1s from the Autarch, which is pretty cool.
Next Up: Harlequins
That covers our look at Ynnari, who round out an interesting set of Craftworlds with a mixed-Aeldari concept that doesn’t quite get there. If you’re dedicated to playing Ynnari the tools are all there, but don’t expect a competitive list that mixes in non-Craftworlds units. Next up in our review series is the rules for Harlequins, which Chase “Gunum” Garber is excited to talk about. You can find that next section here:
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